My Experience As A Career Changer
You’re 50 years old and have spent 30 years building a career in finance. You’ve risen to the unexpectedly dizzy heights of Tax Director in one of the world’s largest companies. You’ve travelled the globe, learned another language, guided mergers and acquisitions totalling billions of pounds and not going to lie, had a great life! You’ve earned decent money, driven flash cars and swanned about “hat on the side of the head” and smile on your face. Then, one day, you find yourself merged out of a job! You’re redundant and start evaluating whether you’re “living your best life”. So, what do you do?
I talked to my wife (never a bad idea) about wanting to do something not only different in scope but which could actually make a difference to me and those around me. She’s a teacher, head of languages at an inner-city school in a poor area of the North West at that time, and she said “We need a maths teacher at my school. I know you aren’t qualified - but they are desperate!”
Music to my ears! I love maths and thought, “how difficult can it be?” Very, to be honest! They offered a short-term contract, while they carried on recruiting, and an 18-month extension at the end of that. Two years in all, during which time I dealt with fights in the classroom, being called offensive names and dealing with numerous difficult and challenging social and behavioural issues; some of which honestly made me think, “what’s the point”?
The point? I was visibly making a difference. With a smile on my face (most of the time) and a mindlessly optimistic attitude (yes it does get on my wife’s nerves) I was helping people who really needed it. How? Well, I taught someone to tell the time (though they honestly believed they were genetically incapable). I had a student tell me that the only reason they bothered to come to school some days was because they had a lesson with me (and yes that does make me proud). And, one of my students got A* at GCSE and A* at GCSE Further Maths and is now doing a Maths Master’s degree at Manchester. He said to me once “What’s the point of getting up in the morning, sir, if you can’t do maths?”. “And teach it”, I thought.
So many differences and reasons to change career! I applied to Keele University, did a Mathematics degree and here I am, 3 years later; 1st Class Hons Degree in hand on the final stretch of re-training to finally be able to do the job properly. And what of the future? Can’t wait!
By David Parry